When you head into the wilderness in winter you step into a world completely foreign to our “real world.” Gone is the din of traffic or the hustle of everyday life.

Here, you are welcomed by a vast silence interspersed with the faint and distant call of a chickadee, the soft plop of snow falling on a pine bough,  and the sound of your own breath. We admit that finding your way into the wild places in winter isn’t always easy, but we promise, it’s worth the challenge.

Read our ideas for how to travel deep into the wild places in Ontario’s Highlands this winter.

Find an Ice Flow

Ice climbing sounds like one of the most Canadian winter experiences ever (second to hockey, of course!). If you’ve always wanted to try to climb a wall of ice, Lorne Foisy from Elements Guiding offers remote overnight experiences where he takes you deep into the forest to find the best places to climb, and then teaches you how to do it.  If you’re not into the overnight option, you can do a half day or full day lesson as well.

Spend the Night Beneath the Stars

Picture yourself wakening to the sound of new fallen snow settling onto the top of your tent, landing light as a feather one snowflake at a time. At Cruising Canoes, Andrew Twigg offers a complete tented camping experience that will keep you toasty while you try it out for size. Silent Lake Provincial Park allows winter camping until the end of March, and you can choose between a cozy yurt, a cabin, or a tenting location.

Go Ice Fishing

When you are ice fishing in Ontario’s Highlands it’s just you in the quiet of your ice hut, peering into the dark, murky waters beneath the ice. It may not be wild up above the ice, but it sure is down below.

Drop your line in search of pickerel, trout, whitefish, and more at The Pines on Boshkung Resort in Haliburton Highlands, and then head back to the resort at the end of the day to warm up. In Hastings County, Moira Lake Fish Hut Rentals provides portable huts or family sleeper units for rent so you can sleep listening to the slosh of water below.

Trek Through Snow

Whether you’re gliding across the snow on cross country skis or forging your own trail on snowshoes, these two types of outdoor activities are one way to travel deep into the wild places. Watch for wildlife trails across the snowy terrain and see if you can identify the tracks. Pause once in a while in your travels to turn your face to the sky and breathe the frosty air.

Book an overnight snowshoeing getaway at Rockhill Bed and Breakfast in Sharbot Lake and snowshoe by day, then cozy up by night. If skiing is more your thing, stay at Somewhere Inn Calabogie and go cross country skiing on the Madawaska Nordic Ski Trail.

Travel by Sled

Take a ride across snowy terrain beneath towering, snow-covered trees. Take in the beauty of the sparkling snow as you explore the winter wonderland on 2,200 acres of private wilderness between Haliburton Lake and Algonquin Park at Winderdance Dog Sledding. If you really want to go wild, try their heli-dogsledding experience.

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